by Julie Weiss
I didn´t think of it as suicide until it was too late.
Leaping off the cliff was a leap of faith, a belief
in the wind to carry me forth on its shoulders if only
I´d arch my body into the grace of a hawk, shed
what gravity held me to earth, sow the valley
with my tears so that fifty years on, the trees
would weep the tragedy of our love: girl meets girl
and two families collapse in charred pieces as if
stuck by lightning. How many lies about charming
village boys did we trill through painted lips, tuck
under frilly skirts to throw our parents off our trail?
How many hideouts did we fashion only to be trapped
like a pair of vixens, dragged home in opposite directions?
My parents´ threats might have been soaked in liquor
for the depth of burn in my throat and yours
left scars across your skin again and again
and yet, you were always the stronger one, said
please hold on, we´re seventeen, almost free.
Freedom twinkled brighter beyond the horizon.
You might, from the vantage point of birds, have been
a tree stump, sunk in the mud puddling my body.
If you had looked up, you would have seen me
slicing through the mist, circling above my own
fractured limbs, wings as sharp as loss, as regret.
If anyone had stilled your wail, you would have heard
all my voices falling, deflated, into your hands.
Julie Weiss´s debut chapbook, ‘The Places We Empty,’ will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.